Appreciation of art: Ray Pfortner shares 25 years of memories


Anyone who has ever marveled at Vashon’s natural beauty should rush to see Ray Pfortner’s new photography exhibit currently on display at The Hardware Store restaurant – it’s a lovely house of memories.

The exhibit, “25”, is not named for the number of pieces in the exhibit (there are many more than that), but rather, as a nod to the fact that Pfortner has now reached the milestone of having resided on the island for 25 years. All of the show’s photographs were taken here, including photos of colorful sunrises, majestic views of Mount Rainier, fog-draped forests, and what Pfortner calls “the jewel of all gems” – the resident killer whales of the Salish Sea, as they enter and play near the shores of the island.

Pforter, a sleek, white-bearded city man, easily recognized by his sleek blue glasses, did so much more during his time on Vashon than just take pictures – though his photographs were so beautiful it would have been enough.

For years he has also shared his expertise with young photography students through ‘Shoot to Show’ workshops held at the Vashon Center for the Arts and in schools – giving teens the chance not only to learn. more on photography, but also to exhibit their works in professional environments. The settings. Through his work with travel agency WTE, he has led island adults on photo safaris to photo-ready places like the Czech Republic, China, Havana and Croatia. He has also always generously shared his work with The Beachcomber, enriching the pages of our journal and its travel guide, “Destination Vashon”.

In 2003, Pfortner received the Emma Award from the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust for a decade of promoting island conservation. Later in the 2000s, he used photography to support the efforts of Islanders determined to stop a plan by Glacier Northwest to expand its gravel mining operations on Maury Island. A photograph from his current exhibit is a rare example of a photograph of Pfortner with people in it – a 2009 aerial photo taken by Pfortner, showing hundreds of protesters massed on a beach in Maury in the form of an orca.

During his long career, which began in his hometown of New York City, Pforter worked as an educator, stock photography agent, book editor, consultant, and environmental scientist.

But now, with the “25” exhibition, Pfortner has also earned the right to call himself what he really has become: an Islander. This reviewer is happy to be standing on the same rock as him and grateful for the way he stood behind his camera, creating indelible memories made of moments and light.

A closing reception for “25” will take place from 6 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, July 30.

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